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Group B Streptococcal Septicemia of the Newborn

Last updated July 17, 2017

Approved by: Maulik P. Purohit MD, MPH

Group B Streptococcal Infection in Newborns is a severe bacterial infection affecting the newborn child. It is a bloodstream infection caused by the bacterium Streptococcus agalactiae, commonly known as “Group B strep” or GBS.


The topic Group B Streptococcal Septicemia of the Newborn you are seeking is a synonym, or alternative name, or is closely related to the medical condition Group B Streptococcal Infection in Newborns.

Quick Summary:

  • Group B Streptococcal Infection in Newborns is a severe bacterial infection affecting the newborn child. It is a bloodstream infection caused by the bacterium Streptococcus agalactiae, commonly known as “Group B strep” or GBS
  • There are two types of GBS infection in newborns, early onset GBS disease that occurs during birth (until 6 days of age) and late onset GBS disease, which occurs in infants who are 7 days to 3 months old
  • A newborn baby’s vulnerability increases owing to many risk factors, some of which are pre-term delivery, the mother being infected in her gastrointestinal or urinary tract with the causative bacterium, having siblings born with infection, and mother having fever during delivery
  • Streptococcus agalactiae, a Gram-positive bacterium, is the causative organism of GBS infection in post-partum women and newborns. In adults, infection due to group B streptococcus is not usually life-threatening; in newborns though, the condition can be fatal
  • Common signs and symptoms associated with this infection in newborns include weakness, lethargy, fever, refusal to feed, pale skin and breathing problems
  • Intravenous antibiotic therapy is the mainstay of treatment for Group B Streptococcal Infection in Newborns. If treatment is delayed or is not made available, there can be serious complications from the infection, such as a drop in blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia), meningitis, respiratory failure, or an abnormal clotting of blood resulting in a condition called disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC)
  • Testing a pregnant woman in her 35th-37th week of pregnancy for group B Streptococcs agalactiae infection, checking the newborn for infection even in the absence of symptoms, washing hands before handling a newborn, and starting treatment promptly after diagnosis are some known preventive methods for this disease
  • With proper diagnosis and prompt treatment, the infection resolves within a few weeks in newborns. However, if treatment is delayed or not given, the condition can worsen and even be fatal

Please find comprehensive information on Group B Streptococcal Infection in Newborns regarding definition, distribution, risk factors, causes, signs & symptoms, diagnosis, complications, treatment, prevention, prognosis, and additional useful information HERE.

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Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: July 17, 2017
Last updated: July 17, 2017